As Long Island continues to combat rampant and lethal opioid addiction in practically every area of the region, law enforcement, prevention advocates and the treatment continue to search means of solving the problem. One community that has felt the sting of opioids more than many others is assembling a 27-person task force to investigate ways to curb addiction and overdose. Southampton recently assembled the commission in hopes of having viable and realistic ways to solve the problem by June. Other task forces have been assembled throughout Long Island with similar aims, as the community continues to lose more and more of its residents to this public health issue.
Opioids killed approximately 500 people across Long Island in 2016. As of October, 17 people have died of opioid overdose in Southampton this year. The commission, which includes Southampton’s police chief, school superintendents, substance abuse counselors, health officials, town board members and members of the faith-based community, hopes to take steps to solve the problem through diversity of opinion and listening to a wide array of perspectives. At the end of the day, this is a problem that affects everyone in the Long Island area, and it’s critically important that all voices are heard if real progress is to be made.
One of the most commonly cited obstacles to quality and common-sense opioid addiction prevention in Long Island is a lack of treatment resources. The waiting list for quality beds continues to prevent many from getting the help they need, despite recent efforts from Governor Cuomo’s office to improve access. Communities all over the area are at a complete loss for answers as more and more families are affected by the problem. Opioid addiction knows no cultural or economic stereotype, and is now one of the leading public health issues facing the United States.